i say, “i’m sorry” very often. i am, be design, a passive communicator. i’ve tried, over the years, to be assertive but the truth is that people respond to this as if i’m a raging bitch because they are so used to my passive style that it feels bad to the person hearing it. This has made me even more passive.
The more upset i am, the more passive i become.
The more physical pain i am in, the more passive i become.
Recently, Sir Raven and i shared a lovely meal with another Master, who cooked for us. As a slave who cooks every day, it feels rather luxurious to have someone else cook, even if it does feel strange to sit and do nothing. i was fairly relieved when the meal was over and i had a chance to do anything remotely productive. i washed the dishes, wiped down the counter tops and stove, wiped down the microwave, and swept the floor. Turning to the table, Sir Raven handed me the hot sauce to put away, and i didn’t know where they went. i’m a guest in this house. Thankfully, the Master is a structured person. so it was really easy for me to look in the most obvious place to locate what i needed without having to ask. The hot sauce though presented an issue, and i was upset that i had to be a bother and ask where it went. When i asked, i said, “i’m sorry that i don’t know where this goes. Could you show me, please?”
The Master said that i shouldn’t say, “I’m sorry.” That there was nothing to be sorry about. That it made it seem as if i didn’t have my own mind.
And i thought, i don’t have my own mind; i have the mind i was given.
For the most part, this is true. Whatever natural default settings i might have ever had for most things is nonexistent. Hell, i was in my mid-twenties and had owned two homes of my own before it occurred to me that i actually hated the smell of pine-sol and could stop using it as the main cleaning agent in the house. My mother loved the smell and i cleaned her bathroom and the kitchen daily. The whole damn house reeked. i was convinced that i loved the smell too. i was using it even when we lived in other states. The idea that i could just stop, the idea that i actually hated the smell, was so foreign i just stood in the middle of my kitchen in shock.
Those kinds of events, where i know i have my own mind, are pretty rare. i’m more aware of issues around sensory overload, so i might have a huge issue is Sir Raven wanted to paint the walls neon pink. But if it wasn’t something that was going to cause a problem with my service, i might not even notice. i might not care if i do notice. It isn’t very relevant to me, my own thoughts, wants, preferences.
To that end, i am sorry when something gets in the way of me bending gracefully. Of me being able to silently complete a task. When i walk into things and it draws attention to me. When something happens-even the weather-and i can’t do a damn thing to change it for people i care about.
i thought about what the Master said, considering it seriously for several days. When i told Sir Raven that what i really had was the mind i was given, she understood exactly what i was saying. Sir Raven doesn’t like it when i say, “i’m sorry” and she thinks i shouldn’t be sorry. The reason she doesn’t like it is that to her, it looks like i’m responding to life like an abuse victim.
My mother had the same issue with me holding my shoulders high and tight, like i was always waiting to be hit. No matter that i was always waiting to be hit some days. i shouldn’t look that way. She had to teach me to hold my shoulders back, my head high, and to move through the world like i owned the space when i need to. Trust me, in a hospital, no one gets in my way. i will get to my loved one’s-period. i can affect a take-no-shit attitude when i need to. But it drains me, i have to shut down parts of myself to do it. Even not holding my body in a rigid way is a practiced behavior, practiced until it felt more normal.
My mother tried to mess with the “i’m sorry” thing. She ended up getting angry more often, broke my nose, hitting me with anything she could find (No wire hangers! ha ha!). It reinforced the concept that i damn well should be sorry, should be passive, should communicate passively unless i am being paid to do otherwise.
Sir Raven tried to mess with the “i’m sorry” thing too.
What she found was that barking angrily at me made me silent, because all i could think of to say was, “i’m sorry” and i became so nervous and upset at not being right that my shoulders went up in defeat. She deduced that this was worse, and left me alone.
Like it or not, i am sorry when i can’t create what it needed, wanted, expected, wished for. Even if it’s not my fault, or was an accident. Communication has to be honest and it can’t be if i’m monitoring every single word.